Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What is Patriotism

Merry Meet!!

Most folk in the Craft community do not think of themselves as political, mostly because there just aren't that many witches in office. But, with the elections upon us and the debate over patriotism always used as a campaign platform, I just felt that I should stand up and throw my two cents into the fray.

First of all let me say that I do not speak of one candidate over the other. I think all Americans or any free people who have the right to vote should at least vote. If you don't vote you can't complain.

Second let me say that I never saw myself as patriotic. I was a rebel and a black sheep and something of an extreme liberal in my teen years. I joined groups like Green Peace and Amnesty International and I wrote to people like FW Declerk and demanded that he free Nelson Mandela and then give the black South Africans the freedom to vote and I joined in other sort prisoners of conscience campaigns but I never felt strongly about my country until I went to work for Vietnam Veterans.

But patriotism for me was less about saluting the flag and more about making sure that all Americans were able to enjoy their fair share the promises made to every American. I love my country, at least the ideals of my country. I understand fully that we have many injustices, racism, sexism, classism, creedism, but there is still the promise in America that does not exist in any part of the world.

Patriotism isn't about just about who served their country, or who didn't or who wears an American Flag on their lapel, it is about what you are willing to stand up for. Are you willing to stand up and say "Enough!" to social injustice in your country and other countries? Are you willing to help a person up? I say "Stand on my shoulders and when you get up there, hold your hand down to me and we will pull someone else up together" It is the rule of three in action.

Patriotism is not about saluting the flag and saying the pledge, but it is about standing still and silent when someone else does it. It is not about getting choked up when we hear the Star Spangled Banner, it is about understanding the words and emotions and feeling a part of the land of the free and the home of the brave. The song means nothing if the words do not ring true.

Patriotism is not about one nation under God if you cannot celebrate the image of God in your own way, whether your creed's symbol is a cross, or a cresent or a six pointed star or a five pointed star.

Patriotism is about being the best part of your nation, not her symbols, not her songs, not her military might. It is about seeing injustice and trying to right it, it is about lending a helping hand, it is about exercising the rights of any free citizen of a free nation.

So may God bless America, regardless of how you see the sacred and God bless Americans, regardless of your notion of patriotism.

Brightest Blessings Be